A Fantastic Co-teaching Resource!
Sonya Kunkel – www.kunkelconsultingservices.com
Hello Dr. Nicki Fans!
Co-teaching can be one of the best uses of human resources if the practice is well-considered.
In mathematics, students that struggle with learning often need to follow the CRA sequence to create enduring understanding of math concepts – begin with the Concrete, move to Representational examples, and then incorporate the Abstract application. To embed this in math instruction, co-teaching offers us an opportunity to differentiate instruction to shape this instructional sequence. For example:
Two teachers can employ a strategy that I call: “flip/flop switch.” Students are divided into two homogeneous groups based on a formative pre-assessment.
During a 40 minute lesson block in a classroom of 24 students, 12 or so of the more capable students work as a group in one part of the room with the general education teacher learning the new lesson for the first 20 minutes. The general education teacher begins teaching with concrete manipulatives (concrete) and no paper. Next the general education teacher has pairs practice with the manipulatives and the students draw their answers from the manipulatives (example: using shapes to represent numbers- representational). Pairs report out and then students learn and practice with number sentences (abstract) as presented by the teacher through instructional discovery. Group A
At the same time, in the same room, the specialist teacher works with the students that did not score well on the pre-test and “pre-teaches” the same skill above. This teacher sticks to concrete and representational activities. The specialist teacher instructs the underlying concepts to the lesson above (basically- pre-teaches the lesson and or needed skills associated with the lesson with concrete and representational means only). Group B
After 20 minutes, the groups switch. The general education teacher now provides Group B with the same lesson (perhaps with some differentiation) as Group A received. Group B enters the lesson with background knowledge and practice. Some examples are eliminated or extended as needed. The teacher follows the same CRA sequence and provides students with extra practice with the abstract version of the work.
The specialist teacher provides Group A with an enrichment exercise. The teacher reviews the lesson using the CRA sequence and asks students to write about the CRA relationship in application activities.
Co-teaching requires co-planning. Plan for small group instruction in your co-teaching classroom. Use flexible grouping practices that incorporate various assessments and learning style considerations. See my book: Advancing Co-teaching Practices: Strategies for Success, on Amazon.com for many more ideas.
Sonya Kunkel, Ed.S.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Helen Keller